I’ve heard it phrased a number of different ways but it all comes down to pretty much the same thing. In a recent public interview, Tom Izzo, Michigan State’s well known and highly respected basketball coach, used the terms “seekers and avoiders.” I’ve also heard the terms “gamers and talkers” and other similar terms and phrases as well. The reference here is to athletes and what Izzo and others have long said is that there are two predominate types. Using Izzo’s terminology, the seekers are the players that want to be in on the action. They want to take the important shot, they want to be in the batter’s box with the game on the line. The avoiders are the exact opposite. They want to play, they want to win, and they want all the good that comes with it, but they also don’t want to be the one who decides the game. They don’t want to be put in a position where it is their fault if success is not achieved. They would like, at all costs, to avoid those types of situations where they might fail.
It is much the same in business. There are many who want to do a good job and certainly want to see their organizations succeed if for no other reason than the fact that they benefit from such success. But they don’t want to ever be put in a position where the finger of fault can be pointed at them if things go wrong. Of course, not every player can take the last shot or get the last swing. But I think if you don’t have a few “go to” people who are willing to put themselves on the line on a regular basis, your organization is in trouble. And, worse still, the manager who is an avoider. Of course, I personlly think the worst of all is the manager who takes the shot but makes sure he has someone to blame in case it misses!
A Twinkie Comment
As a kid, and here I refer to the ages of approximately 8-12 of my childhood, I had a Hostess Twinkie just about every day–at least on school days, because one was always packed in my lunch bag when I went to school. One sandwich … usually peanut butter and grape jelly… one apple, and a Twinkie. I outgrew the Twinkie at some point and no longer put grape jelly on my peanut butter sandwiches, but I was truly bothered by the downfall of the Hostess Company and the stoppage of Twinkie production which occurred last year. There was a lot said about it and not unsurprisingly, fingers of blame got pointed in all directions. But as is almost always the case in the world of commerce and industry, others have now come along and are rapidly taking the place of the Twinkie. For example, in the last several months, the following have now started to appear with some prominence in my part of the country and every one of them is a Twinkie-like product. One of them is actually at least as good as the Twinkie in my opinion, but if you are so inclined, I‘ll let you decide that for yourself. The replacements are: “Golden Sponge Cakes (by Vachon-Saputo), Cloud Cakes (by Little Debbie), Golden Crème Cakes (by Great Value for Wal-Mart), The Crème Cake (by The Snack Artist for Dominick’s grocers) and The Sponge Cake (by Nice! For Walgreens). This, my friends, is the way the commercial world works. When someone stumbles and there is a buck to be made, there will always be someone to step in and take their place. And in most cases, they can’t do it fast enough.
According to reports published earlier this week by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, construction employment rose in 33 states from November to December. Biggest increase came from the guys up north of the Cheddar Curtain, aka Wisconsin. This is a very good sign and particularly so given the time of year. Usually things in the construction industry start to cool a bit as winter approaches, and especially so up north. In my neighborhood alone, there have been three housing starts in the last 90 days and we have not seen any activity of any kind in my area for the last couple of years … so indeed, good news. And heaven knows we can use some good news.
Good News About Green Stuff
Well, according to an article from Time magazine sent my way by Tom Kormanson, there is more green in the green thing than maybe I had initially imagined. According to a recent forecast produced by a group out of UC Berkeley, the Green Building movement might be the place to be if your are looking to stay busy for the next ten years or so. The study found that the category of “Green Construction” ranked as the third most likely area to find employment during the next several years. Take a deep breath and say the word … retrofit.
… goes out to Vic Cornellier and the team at TSI for the really terrific write up they recently received in the Washington Post. TSI is one of the glass industry’s premier companies and it was great to see them get some very positive press for some of the work they have done and are continuing to do around the nation’s capital. Vic, along with sons Peter and Thomas, are not only good business people but also just all-around good guys. You gotta love it when good things happen to good people.
The Sports Thing
Yes, I was wrong and yes, I also know that I have been consistently wrong about these things for the last couple of years. But as a friend of mine by the name of Tony pointed out to me recently, I am extremely consistent in my wrongness and in this fact alone, Tony has found a silver lining. You see, he now bets exactly the opposite of whatever it is I predict. So when I picked the 49ers in the Super Bowl, he bet the Ravens and won. He told me that he has been betting against my predictions for some time now and has done quite well for himself. Not that his bets are all that big, but as he said on the phone to me the other day, I am almost as good as a sure thing when it comes to these types of scenarios. Oh well!OK … for the third week in a row, that’s right, the third week in a row, I can now AGAIN state that my Chicago Blackhawks have not been beaten yet this season. With their 4-3 win over the Sharks last night, they remain unbeaten!!! BUT, I am not predicting anything here. I’m just sayin.
The Quotable Thing
This week’s quote comes from Jerry Hamilton, who lives out there in the wheat fields of Nebraska. He sent it to me a couple of weeks ago and I am now glad to have the opportunity of using it because I like it quite a bit. It was credited to Marie von Eschenbach, an Austrian writer. Thanks, Jerry!
“In youth we learn; in age we understand.”
Have A Great Week, Everybody!!!